LIFEHOUSE VR TREATMENT TRIAL

Chris O’Brien Lifehouse is a state-of-the-art independent cancer treatment and research hospital based in Sydney, Australia. Their highly experienced clinicians see more than 40,000 public and private patients every year – concentrating all their efforts, learning, research and expertise into cancer care.

We collaborated with Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and Samsung Australia to develop a ground-breaking initiative to supply virtual reality technology to patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment, the goal was to help ease psychological stress and provide a form of “distraction therapy” during treatment.

Patients were provided with Samsung Gear VR headsets and the option to select an experience either from the Gear VR store or Start VR’s catalogue of content. Experiences ranged from transporting patients to a relaxing travel destination, plunging off an airplane in a skydiving stimulating experience, taking a boat ride through the Sydney Harbour, snorkeling through sparkling blue waters and petting Koalas at a zoo.

The initiative was spearheaded by Start VR’s Head of Content Martin Taylor: “We wanted to determine if VR had the potential to change people’s outlook on their current environment and we felt that a healthcare setting, where people sit and wait for periods of time, worried about unknown outcomes would be the right place to start. Though after months of theory and planning, the true reward was meeting these incredible patients and seeing them experience instant joy through the power of VR.

“Exploring the application of VR in healthcare, highlights an exciting pathway for this burgeoning medium and we are proud to leverage what we are learning to continually push boundaries in VR content creation.”

Martin Brown, Head of Alliances and Enterprise Mobility, Samsung Electronics Australia continued: “This collaboration with Start VR and Chris O’Brien Lifehouse breaks new ground in the way the immersive nature of our virtual reality platform can be applied to a healthcare environment.”

“Allowing patients to escape the experience of chemotherapy gives them a bit of space to forget what’s going on. In settings such as before surgery, patients are even more anxious. This gives them a distraction and allows them to keep their spirits up. Wellness isn’t just about the physical side of things, it’s also about mental wellbeing.” Michael Marthick

Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Complementary Therapy Director

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